Alaska Native Tara Sweeney steps down as head of Arctic Economic Council

Tara Sweeney (3L) at the Arctic Economic Secretariat’s official opening in Tromsø, Norway in September 2015. (Ingun A. Mæhlum/Arctic Economic Secretariat)
FAIRBANKS — The chairmanship of the Arctic Economic Council passed from the United States to Finland on Tuesday, with Tara Sweeney of Arctic Slope Regional Corp., an Alaska Native corporation, passing the chair to Tero Vauraste, who heads Arctia, a Finnish government-owned shipping company that specializes in icebreaking.

The council is a relatively new policy player whose vision is to “make the Arctic a favorable place to do business,” and intends to “be a globally recognized stakeholder when decisions regarding Arctic businesses are made.”

The chairmanship of the Arctic Council, a broad diplomatic and scientific organization, is set to pass from the United States to Finland on Thursday.

Maritime transport, telecommunications and resource development are among the Arctic Economic Council main priorities. Vauraste said more industries will be represented in the council with the creation of new “working groups” to research and propose policies during his chairmanship.

Under the leadership of Sweeney, who also represents the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Arctic Economic Council established a secretariat based in Norway. The secretariat has been funded for three years by the Norwegian business community and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She will remain on the economic council as a vice-chair.

Vauraste said under his leadership the council will also work to recruit new members from the business community.

Related stories from around the  North:

Canada: New Polar Code takes centre stage at Arctic Shipping summit in Montreal, Radio Canada International

Denmark/Greenland: Will new climate scientist on board influence Exxon?, blog by Irene Quaile, Deutsche Welle

Finland:  Business vs. environment debate hurts Northeners, says Arctic Economic Council, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: High peak in low season, Iceland’s mass-tourism boiling over, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Trans-Arctic fiber cable can make Kirkenes a high-tech hub, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development wants 210 billion rubles for Arctic regions, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Northern Sweden cities on shortlist for battery gigafactory, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Inuit organization plans economic development across national boundaries, Alaska Dispatch News

The Arctic Council chairmanship moves from the United States to Finland on May 11, 2017 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn along with EOTA media partners and contributors will be bringing you stories, interviews and analysis leading up to the handover.
Read our full coverage here!

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